We order ice cream for two. Sunday nights, about once a month, I make the pick up at the Fayetteville Friendly's. A five scoop Reese's pieces sundae with hunka chunka peanut butter fudge ice cream. Two spoons. A high calorie, sugar filled moment of decadence. Sadly, my Friendly's of today is closing. The ritual will end.
As a kid my Friendly's was the Bayberry location on Route 57 a.k.a. Oswego Road in Liverpool. Our family lived a long walk, a five minute bike ride or a short drive away. There were family favorites for Mom, Dad, John, Tim and me. I recall black raspberry in a sugar cone melting faster than you could lick it on a hot summer day. Or if we were sitting inside the air conditioned building it was the strawberry royal banana split.
My wife Jamie has the same fond recollections of her version of my Friendly's, the one in Rome. She still remembers the cute boy in the classic Friendly's gray shirt and classic restaurant folded paper hat.
In the 1960's Friendly's swept through the suburbs and small towns of Central New York and put down deep roots. They imitated the old classic soda fountain lunch counters. My Friendly's felt wonderfully American.
They provided a reasonably priced place for families to dine out. They hosted countless adult conversations over coffee. They surely lost money on pre-teens and teens looking for a spot to hang out where you could order a cone and tell the waitress to keep the waters coming.
All three of the Friendly's that we can lay claim to are closing today. Bayberry is turning into a Moe's Southwest Grill. Fayetteville's future owner is unknown, but it's likely to have a new life. Rome's future is uncertain.
We'll find a new favorite place and maybe a new favorite flavor. But, it won't be the same. My Friendly's is closing.
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